First quarter deficit lower than expected

The province’s first quarter deficit will be smaller than anticipated, due to improved non-renewable resource revenues and performance from crown corporations.

The deficit came in at $306 million, compared to the original projection of $365 million.

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“Three months into the fiscal year, we’re seeing a growing economy and an improving fiscal picture,” said local MLA and finance minister Donna Harpauer. “Our government continues to manage spending carefully, invest in priorities for Saskatchewan people, shift from our reliance on volatile resource revenue and help keep our economy strong.”

Both income and expenses were higher than predicted, with revenues at $14.4 billion – $171.5 million higher – and expenses at $14.7 billion – $112.3 million higher.

On the revenue side, increases in oil, natural gas and potash prices will see non-renewable resource revenues go up by $135.3 million. Revenues from uranium, coal and other minerals are going down. Crown corporations are $36.2 million more than expected, with most of that coming from SaskPower electricity exports.

On the other side of the ledger, health expenses are going up $20 million more than expected due to increased use, social services and assistance expenses are going up $20 million due to caseload increases in child and family services, forest firefighting operations will see $17 million more, and pension expenses are up $55.3 million due to higher interest rates.

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